Several times now, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has compared aborting an unborn baby to having tonsils removed.
But a new fact check by Politifact may confuse some voters about the truth.
On Wednesday, it ran the headline: “The Elizabeth Warren quote likening abortion to tonsil removal? It’s edited and taken out of context.”
Some voters could take that to mean that Warren never made the comparison at all, but she clearly did. The Massachusetts senator made the comparison twice in writing in 2018, something Politifact acknowledged.
Politifact based its fact check on a post about Warren that Facebook recently flagged as “fake news.”
According to the “fact check”:
The post features a photo of the Massachusetts senator with text above and below the image that reads: “‘Having an abortion is no different than someone having their tonsils removed.’ – Liberal Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren. Yes she really said this and is really this d— crazy and stupid!”
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.
It is not clear where the post came from, and it was later removed. It appears to have been a hand-made graphic, not an article or post from a news site or blog.
Politifact rated the post “mostly false,” calling it “heavily edited” and taken out of context.
But Warren did make the comparison between aborting an unborn baby and a tonsillectomy.
On Jan. 21, 2018, she wrote a column for Time magazine to celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Warren claimed: “On the 45th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I think about what has changed since abortions became legal. Our health care system has pretty much dealt with the safety issue: thanks to Roe vs. Wade, abortion is now safer than getting your tonsils out.”
Later in July, she wrote basically the same thing in piece published in Marie Claire.
“When abortions are illegal, women don’t stop getting them— they just risk their lives to do it,” Warren wrote. “Today, thanks to Roe, getting an abortion is safer than getting your tonsils out. Before Roe v. Wade, many women turned to back-alley butchers to end their pregnancies.”
Politifact also cited a study indicating that Warren was right about abortions being safer than tonsillectomies. Published in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology,” the study claimed that only 2.1 percent of abortions result in complications, compared to 9 percent for a tonsillectomy.
The pro-life watchdog group Operation Rescue refuted evidence about the safety of abortion recently, comparing the number of ambulance transports from colonoscopy clinics in Missouri to those from the state’s only abortion facility. It found that the frequency of ambulance transports for patient emergencies was four and a half times higher at the abortion clinic.
Evidence from former abortion clinic workers, patients and state health inspection reports indicate that abortion facilities also do not always report patient complications.
And, according to Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute, most women did not seek back alley abortions prior to Roe.
In 1960, Dr. Mary Calderone, the medical director of Planned Parenthood, wrote in the American Journal of Public Health:
“… about 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians…Whatever trouble arises usually arises from self-induced abortions, which comprise approximately 8 percent, or with the very small percentage that go to some kind of non-medical abortionist…So remember…abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians.”
An abortion is nothing like a tonsillectomy. The very purpose of an abortion is to destroy an unborn baby’s life. But growing evidence suggests that they are not safe for the mothers either.